Out the window of our hotel, I watched a boat with yellow sails return to its moorings. We were in Half Moon Bay, California, near where we lived when we left California for Charlotte nearly 10 years ago. We had just purchased our new home just 2 blocks from the water. The view, the boat, the thought of leaving Charlotte and Stonebridge made me think about my Dad.
On the sidewalk near my window a dog barked. Not the yap a small bothersome dog or a ferocious growl from a guard dog, but a deep friendly sound from an Irish Setter. My eyes followed the cheerful side to side motion of its dark red tail, long and furry like the fringe on a leather jacket worn by a frontiersman like Davy Crockett or Daniel Boone - or even my own father who bravely forged his way into the high desert of Mexico at the age of 60. After pastoring a church for a few years, and ministering in a rescue mission on the Texas border for several months, he pursued his dream and settled into a small crossroads' town that had never seen a non-Catholic Christian before.
In his croaking bass voice, my father paced up and down the cobblestone streets, praying and singing the 1st Spanish song he learned, "Yo Ando Con Mi Rey," or "I'm Walking With My King." Little children followed him around, matrons stood in their doorways - aproned and amazed. Grown men on horseback taunted him, calling him names and threatening him with whips and pistols.
But Papa persisted. He learned to speak and preach fluently in their language, made many friends, and by the time he passed away almost 30 years after arriving in Mexico, he had started nearly 20 churches with local pastors. Over 200 people attended his memorial service - a joyous homecoming emblazoned with the theme of his mission, "Dios es Amor" which means "God is Love."
May God bless you all with both courage and love. I will miss you. Barbara